I read an interesting verse in my time with the Bible this morning;
The tongue has the power of life and death
(Proverbs 18 vs. 21)
I don’t know if they still do but, years ago (in the good old days!) doctors would often tell you to stick out your tongue. It would seem that the condition of your tongue was a good indicator of the general condition of your health. However, let me put a little warning on this, it is not advisable, the next time somebody asks how you are for you to stick out your tongue – this could produce unwelcome results!
In ancient times, if you caught a spy or somebody witnessed something that you didn’t want repeating, you would “cut their tongue out – sounds painful and disgusting!
Does the tongue really have the power of life and death as the writer of Proverbs suggests? Well, our words certainly do have power and can have long lasting and far reaching consequences. With a single word we can really encourage somebody or, hurt them. I have read, in the past, that it takes 7 positive words to outweigh 1 negative. However, I think it would be many more than that!
As I looked through my Bible this morning I found 57 separate verses about the need to learn to control our tongues!
So perhaps, I found myself thinking, it is better to keep silent and never speak again (that would make Sunday’s services a little different!). But, the more I reflected on it I realised that silence can be just as hurtful and damaging as our words. When we have the opportunity to show interest, offer comfort, or prayer and do not that can be just as damaging. The Bible doesn’t tell us to keep silent, it does tells us to learn self- discipline when it comes to our tongues. Try these words from Ephesians;
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4 vs. 29)
So, before you say what is on the “tip of your tongue” Pause, Pray then Speak because your words carry real power with them! As the Psalmist says;
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
(Psalm 19 vs. 14)